Friday, December 18, 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020, Damon Gulczynski


Today is a good day. Not only is it Friday, and there's a puzzle by the eminent Damon Gulczynski, but yours truly got the vaccine. It helps to be a frontline healthcare worker. In case there are any readers of this blog who are uncertain or hesitant about getting the vaccine, please believe that the work was appropriately done, the science is correct, and the vaccine is as safe as any widely accepted medical treatment. That doesn't mean that there won't be individual cases of poor reactions, but that the vast majority of recipients will do fine with it.

Boy, I've been preaching a lot the last couple of days. Which reminds me, I haven't done a good enough job of acknowledging our debut creators this week. Congratulations to all four Monday through Thursday constructors!

Meanwhile, today's is not a debut. We get six 15-letter answers set up in a lovely grid. And in time-honored fashion, I will now rate these in order of my personal opinion.

6. 17A: Using any means necessary (CATCHASCATCHCAN). The fact that this one is sixth tells you how good these answers are.

5. 37A: Setting for forensic investigations (SCENEOFTHECRIME) - I was thinking it would be in a DNA lab or some such, so this was a nice twist.

4. 3D: "Let's go!" (BETTERGETMOVING) - I do enjoy an exclamation C/AP.

3. 7D: People who might tell you to stop, but probably shouldn't (BACKSEATDRIVERS) - such a great clue, and a non-QMC at that. Not number one because it's a plural answer.

2. 11D: George Mallory's famous response to "Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?" (BECAUSEITSTHERE). Such a great answer, and who knew it was a 15-letter string? Mr. Gulczynski, that's who. Amazingly, never used before.

1. 60A: Stereotypical cry from a sailor (SHIVERMETIMBERS). Yes. So much fun. I chuckled as I put it in. 

Erin Doherty as Princess ANNE

But that's not all, folks! You also get the excellent 14A: Line outside the entrance? (OPENSESAME). That's a great example of a QMC, although it could also have been a non-QMC in my opinion. SCRUBNURSE is great, as is 67A: Some real heady stuff? (BEER). Throw in a reference to The Crown, and you had me at "hello." Sure, there's some ALEK Wek, YSER, SEGO crosswordese, but these are small prices to pay for the overall excellence.

- Colum


  1. 14:26
    I, too, really enjoyed the six grid-spanners, and the overall smooth feel of the puzzle. OPENSESAME got a surprise chuckle out of me, as did the SEEDY/NASTY cross. And I've been to DOHA (briefly), so that brought back good memories of traveling. I hadn't thought of Charles OSGOOD for a little while, and SEAHORSES are always welcome, even plurally.

  2. 13:20
    Hey, congrats on getting the vaccine! I figure I've got at least another four months before I get to have one.

    Lovely puzzle. I tried BECAUSEITwaSTHERE, but that didn't fit. I guess present tense is better.